Monday, March 31, 2014

Music Monday: Songs about Spring

Hi there!  I have been finding that sometimes, I just need a blogging hiatus.  I was busy and sick with a cold last week, and I just didn't have the desire, energy, or inspiration to blog.  Those little breaks make me super excited to get back to blogging.  And I'm launching this week with Music Monday!

In case you haven't noticed, spring is here!  While it doesn't exactly FEEL like spring yet in Pennsylvania, the first day of spring brings the promise that it will eventually get warm.

Here are some songs that put me in a spring and summer mood!

"California Gurls" by Katy Perry


"Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line


"Fun, Fun, Fun" by The Beach Boys


"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves


"Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles



These are just some of the songs that make me think of spring/summer, fun, warm weather....

What songs make you think of spring??

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Bridge to Terabithia

I wasn't planning to write a book review this week, but I read a couple of chapters of Bridge to Terabithia on Friday to start preparing for a new unit for one of my reading classes, and I finished it in a couple of hours on Saturday.

But first, I was contacted by a representative from Grammarly which is an automated online proofreader that finds and explains grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in all types of writing.  It sounds pretty cool, plus, I get a gift card to Amazon and a chance to win a bigger one!!

Use Grammarly's plagiarism detect feature because cats are cute, but copy cats aren't.

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Back to my thoughts on Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson.  If you plan to read this or see the movie, I just want to warn you that my review contains spoilers!!

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If you've never read the book (or seen the movie), here's the summary from Goodreads.com:

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book because one of my 6th grade classes picked as the next book they wanted to read in class. It only took me a few hours to read. I'm sad to say that I just don't get what the big deal is surrounding this book. I would also really love to know why this book was ever turned into a movie?? I hope my students will not be as disappointed in this book as I was.

I did give it two stars and not one because I didn't feel that it was badly written or anything like that. I just thought the plot was rather boring. Don't get me wrong, though! I would have loved an area like that to play with friends as a kid. We were always playing imaginary games, and we had so much fun! That doesn't mean that someone should've written a book about them.

I really didn't feel connected to the characters, and for a crier, I surprisingly had a very UNemotional reaction to Leslie's death. While there was an indication that something bad was going to happen, I felt that her death came out of nowhere. I actually thought that they might get swept through the creek and something bad but more adventuresome would take place.

This was a truly disappointing read.

View all my reviews

The more I think about it, the more that I want to change my review to one stars, but I'll go ahead and keep my final decision.  I just don't get all of the hype.  Looking over other ratings people gave this book, I was glad to know that I wasn't alone.  It seems like people either love this book or hate it.

Have you read it?  What did you think?  It's ok if we disagree!  If you liked this book, I would really love to know why!! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Monday: Glee Part 2

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I'm going green here today in honor of the holiday! :)

In case you missed it, last week I shared five of my favorite songs performed on Glee.  They've done SO many songs, and there are so many that I've enjoyed, that I decided I needed to write one more post!


"Bye, Bye, Bye/I Want it That Way"




This is one of my favorite songs from Season 4 (aka: the first season after most of the good characters graduated).  Of course, as a teenager of the 90s, my heart leaps for the N*Sync/Backstreet Boys combo, and I certainly don't mind any song that Cory Monteith (Finn) and Matthew Morrison (Mr. Shuester) sing together.

"Journey Medley" ("Faithfully"/"Anyway You Want It"/"Don't Stop Believing")


I have loved few songs on this show more than an good Rachel/Finn duet. :*( 

"Marry You"


This one is from the episode where Finn's mom marries Kurt's dad.  That was a good episode! :)

"Lucky"


"Teenage Dream"




I'm pretty sure I could do ten more of these posts, and not cover all of the songs I've loved!  The cast of Glee has done over 600 songs, I believe!  So picking just 10 has been difficult!

As a bonus, I'm going to leave you with this last one.  This is the most moving, sad, and heartfelt performances I ever saw on the show.  It's from the episode "The Quarterback."  This episode was the tribute after Cory Monteith passed away.  Rachel sings it for Finn.


"To Make You Feel My Love"







Thursday, March 13, 2014

What NOT to Say to a Teacher

Life As Always


If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a teacher by day, and a blogger by night.  I knew that I wanted to link up with Jamie, Lindsey, Jenni, & Sarah for "Live & Learn Thursday" this week, but I wasn't sure I've learned anything recently.  I sure do teach a lot (although, I'm not sure how much my students are actually learning.....).  

Anyway, I decided to give you some advice from a teacher's point of view.  Here are a few things you should never say to a teacher (be you a parent, student, or general human being).

1. "...but you have all summer off!"

Yes, this is true.  This is a PERK of my job.  This is also essential to my survival as a somewhat sane person.  Without this summer break, it is likely that I may commit murder lose my mind.  I need this time to recuperate, regenerate, and refresh.  

But don't be fooled.  It's not like I sit at  home all summer and eat bon-bons.  This is the time where I actually do a semi-decent job at being a housewife: cleaning, cooking, etc. etc.   I also start planning for the next school year, obsess over the dynamics of the class I will have, visit school at least once a week to start setting up my classroom, and so on and so forth.

2. "My [insert adult figure here] didn't put it in my backpack!"

First of all, child, your mom (dad/grandma/aunt/uncle/older sister) doesn't come to school in my classroom.  YOU come to school.  It was YOUR homework/book/permission slip/etc.  It was YOUR responsibility to bring it back.  (And YES, I told my students this even when I taught first grade.  They've got to learn responsibility sometime!)

3. "Why didn't you see Tommy hit my child??"

Well, contrary to what I want students to believe.  I don't have eyes in the back of my head.  Kids are smart.  Kids are sneaky.  If Tommy wants to hit Bobby, he will not do it while I'm watching him.  He will wait until my back is turned.  The same goes for Susie pulling Annie's hair.  Or Johnny throwing a paper air plane.  Or Sally poking Susie with a pencil.  

Would you do something you're not supposed to do while someone is watching you?

4. "Well then, why weren't you paying attention?"

Thank you for asking.  I was doing one (or more) of the following: working on my lesson plans, writing on the board, addressing Susie pulling Annie's hair, hanging a bulletin board, assisting a student with a computer problem, filling out paper work for another discipline problem, helping Ernie with his math homework, counseling Sally and Sarah about the fight they're having, giving directions to the student who was absent yesterday and needed to make up a test/homework/in-class assignment, calling the nurse for a sick student, looking over the messed up class list that's supposed to be accurate BEFORE the state tests are administered, grading papers, entering grades, writing a progress report.....

I could go on.  

Shall I?

5. "Teachers are overpaid."

First of all, I DO actually love my job.  I DID NOT go into teaching for the money.  Anyone who becomes a teacher knows better.  I'm actually quite happy with my salary, but please do not tell me that I'm over paid.

Instead...come walk a day in my (sometimes high heeled) shoes.  The list above just barely scratches the surface of all of the things that I am trying to accomplish every day.  I bring work home.  I have laid awake at night trying to sleep but have remained awake thinking of how to make a lesson better, wondering why my students are so disrespectful, wishing I knew how to reach them, realizing that I forgot x amount of things that I still need to do before school starts tomorrow (and then deciding that I'd better get up early).

Then I have to try to teach 20 students at a time who all have different learning styles, abilities, and problems of their own.

AND I'm also supposed to make sure these 20 different individuals learn the exact same thing in the same amount of time and all before the state tests on which part of my teaching performance is based.

Once you do that, you can tell me I'm over paid.

I would also like to clarify that this is not a complaining post.  It is intended to be informative, sarcastic, and somewhat funny.  

So did this teacher teach YOU something today?! :)


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marvelous March

So today, I'm linking up with Laney from Night Owl Venting for a monthly blog challenge.  It's a pretty neat idea.  Each month, you choose from a few topics and then link up!  That's it!

I chose "Marvelous March."  As you may have noticed, I've been feeling less than chipper lately.  I wanted to try to find some things that I'm looking forward to this March!

1. SPRING!!!  March 20th can't get here soon enough!

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2. St. Patrick's Day


This year, Scott and I are going to a St. Patrick's Day party on Friday, March 14th.  It's actually a pretty big deal.  It's difficult to get tickets, and it actually benefits a scholarship fund.  The best part is that they're giving away a trip to Ireland!!  I will just die if we win!

3. Helping others

Jess (on the right) is the friend the benefit is for.  She's here with our friend, Jen. 
A friend of ours was in a pretty bad car accident at the beginning of this year.  She was hospitalized for quite some time and is still going through physical therapy.  Some of her friends have gotten together to organize a benefit for her to help with medical expenses.  I'm looking forward to having a good time with our friends and helping to raise money for a good cause!

What are you looking forward to this March?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Gregor and the Code of Claw

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A week or so ago, I finished reading The Underland Chronicles series by Suzanne Collins.  I have to say, I really enjoyed the series!  It was definitely something different, and I think this is also a series adults will enjoy as much as the young adults for whom it was intended.

Here's the summary from Goodreads.com:

Everyone in the Underland has been taking great pains to keep The Prophecy of Time from Gregor. Gregor knows it must say something awful but he never imagined just how awful: It calls for the warrior's death. Now, with an army of rats approaching, and his mom and sister still in Regalia, Gregor the warrior must gather up his courage to help defend Regalia and get his family home safely. The entire existence of the Underland is in Gregor's hands, and time is running out. There is a code to be cracked, a mysterious new princess, Gregor's burgeoning dark side, and a war to end all wars.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this book was a great conclusion to this series! It was the first book in the series that truly brought my to tears, and it left me wanting to know so much more about what happens to Gregor and his family! It was exciting to see the final events play out and to continue to follow Gregor's development as a character. He becomes a very wise 12-year-old. It is easy to forget his young age throughout all of the stories.

Overall, I give this series 5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend it to adults who love YA Fiction and, and I would encourage my students to read it, as well!

View all my reviews

I would add, though, that the ending isn't incredibly conclusive.  I felt like I needed a few more chapters to sum things up or an epilogue that gives some details about what happens in the future for Gregor and his family.  This doesn't change my rating because the fact that I wanted more means that I really enjoyed the book!

Have you read any good books lately??

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Monday: Glee

Hi there friends!  I took a hiatus last week that really wasn't planned.  Last weekend, Scott & I laid around with sinus headaches, and I just didn't have time to get any blog posts lined up.  Add to that a busy week where I was feeling more tired than usual, and well....no blog posts.

But I'm back now, and it's time for Music Monday.  It's no secret that I love the TV Show Glee.  I've written a few post about it: Feeling Glee-ful (eerily written just days before Cory Monteith passed away :( ) and I'm Feeling Glanxious.  So naturally, I've downloaded Glee's versions of songs from their shows.  The bulk of these include two of their Christmas albums (you can NEVER have enough Christmas music).  SINCE it ISN'T Christmas anymore, though, I've decided to share some of my other favorite Glee covers!

"Poker Face" Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) & Idina Menzel (Shelby Corcoran- Rachel's mom)


I love this slower version of the song....where you can actually hear and understand the words....

"Valerie" Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez)


"Landslide" Gwyneth Paltrow (Holly Holliday), Naya Rivera (Santa Lopez), Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce)


"Don't Stop Believing" Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) & Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) & Glee Cast


I love this, but it also makes me sad.  I miss Cory Monteith.  The show is just not the same without him.

"Loser Like Me" Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), & Glee Cast


This song is not a cover.  It was a song that The New Directions (the name of the Glee club on the show) wrote for their competition.  It's really cute and fun.

I literally tear up every time I watch a video with Cory Monteith.  His death still really affects me.  It's totally weird.

Anyway, those are some of my favorites.  I realized that there are lots more I could share!  I think I just might have to continue this next week!

Do you watch the show?  What are your favorite Glee covers??


 
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